P2/N95 rated face masks can help filter out the fine particles in smoke. To be effective, they must be fitted according to the manufacturer’s instructions and form a tight seal around the face. It can be difficult to maintain a tight seal, particularly for people with facial hair and children.
NSW Health is distributing Commonwealth-provided P2 masks to community pharmacies and health services in bushfire-affected areas. A list of community pharmacies is provided below. Please ring ahead to check availability.
On this page
- Why use a P2 face mask? (also called N95)
- How to fit a P2 mask
- Maintaining effective protection
- Face mask distribution to bushfire affected areas
Why use a P2 face mask? (also called N95)
Disposable P2/N95 face masks (also known as P2/N95 respirators) are able to filter out very fine particles from the air when worn correctly. They help reduce exposure to bushfire smoke / poor air quality and associated health effects.
P2/N95 face masks are widely available from hardware stores and other safety equipment suppliers.
For more information on P2 masks, read the Frequently asked questions.
How to fit a P2 mask
Putting on and checking the mask
Take time to correctly identify which size and style of mask is suitable for you. Each time a P2/N95 face mask is used it should be fit checked before entering an unsafe environment. Fit checks ensure that the mask is sealed over the bridge of the nose and mouth, and that there are no gaps in the seal between the mask and the face.
P2/N95 face masks should always be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Procedure for putting on a P2/N95 face mask and conducting a fit check
- Remove glasses and hats. Tie back long hair so it does not become tangled in the straps of the respiratory protection
- Put the mask on your face, ensuring the nose piece is at the top of the mask
- Place the headband or ties over the head and at the base of the neck
- Compress the mask against the face to ensure a seal across the bridge of the nose
- Compress the mask to ensure a seal across the cheeks and the face; and
- Conduct a fit check: check the seal of the mask by gently inhaling. If the mask is not drawn in towards the face, or air leaks around the face seal, readjust the mask and repeat process or check for defects in the mask. If the mask still leaks you may need to try a different size or style of mask.
People with beards should shave before using a P2 mask as a good seal between the mask and the wearer’s face cannot be guaranteed if they have facial hair.